2031 Offers a New Take on the Classic Tale of Man v Machine

By  · Published on January 24th, 2017

Short of the Day

A sci-fi odyssey starring Michelle Rodriguez and Lucas Haas.

Most of us have grown up wondering one thing: when do the robots get here? A lifetime of media from The Jetsons to The Terminator have taught us to expect the future will be presented in the arms of our automaton servants, congenial cybernetic attendants who “live” to fulfill our every whim.

Though at the same time, if media has taught us anything, it’s that when the robots do get here, there’s a likely chance, a probability even, that they’ll go bat-shit haywire, gain sentience, figure out the deal and renegotiate the terms by enslaving us at best, or completely eradicating us at worst. It is story older even than the microchip, and there’s a reason it keeps getting told: every day we get a little closer to the age of robots. Currently, for example, one out of every 50 US military personnel serving in Afghanistan is a robot. In 15 years, by 2031, that number will be much, much larger, and it is not a stretch of fancy or the imagination to consider that in our lifetime the human soldier will become an operator only, the battlefields populated instead by our mechanical protectors.

This is the future in which actor/filmmaker Catero Colbert (Roadies, Naruto) set his short film 2031, a proof-of-concept sci-fi flick starring Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and Furious) and Lucas Haas (Brick). In the film, presumably peaceful robots become aware and band together to confront their human masters, intent on tipping the balance of power. As chaos begins to unfurl, one man (Haas) discovers the origins of the electronic rebellion and seeks to shut it all down with the help of a ballsy ex-soldier (Rodriguez). The set-up might sound familiar but the payoff is wholly original and unexpected in ways I shouldn’t delve into lest I spoil your good time. Suffice it to say, Colbert has handled his concept with equal parts spectacle and emotion, and the humanity he’s conjured is just as present and palpable as the tension.

Have a look, but maybe not on your iPhone. You don’t want to go giving Siri any radical ideas.

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